Best High Calorie Dog Food For Weight Gain
Certain dog breeds are known for being long and lithe- the Greyhound is a great example. What you need to realize, however, is that there is a difference between a dog being lean and dog being skinny to an unhealthy degree.
Sudden weight loss is never healthy, though there are certainly other reasons why a dog might be underweight. If you’re concerned about your dog’s weight, talk to your veterinarian and start feeding it a high-quality dog food for weight gain.
Keep reading to learn more about the dietary needs of underweight dogs and how to choose a healthy dog food for weight gain. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best dog food for weight gain.
Quick Look at Our Top Picks:
- Best Overall: Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Food
- Best Affordable: Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Food
- Best Grain-Free: Merrick Grain-Free Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe
- Best For Small Breeds: Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed
- Best For Large Breeds: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Adult Recipe
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Special Dietary Needs of Underweight Dogs
Some dogs are simply meant to be skinny – this is particularly true for active and working breeds. If you can look at your dog from the side, however, and clearly see its ribs, it could be underweight. There are a number of factors that can lead a dog to be underweight such as malnourishment, old age, and various health problems. If your dog is underweight, you may want to take it to the vet to make sure there isn’t anything going on under the surface.
Here are some things to look for in a good dog food for weight gain:
- Calorie Density. The average dog burns about 30 calories per pound of body weight per day, so your dog may need more than that to gain weight. Look for a dog food that contains somewhere between 400 and 500 calories per cup.
- Quality Proteins. Protein helps your dog build lean muscle mass for healthy weight gain and long-term maintenance. Look for quality animal proteins and at least 30% crude protein.
- Healthy Fats. Fat provides a concentrated source of energy (calories) for your dog, so look for recipes with around 15% to 20% fat. Remember that it should come from animal sources as well, though plant oils can help ensure omega fatty acid balance.
- Beneficial Supplements. No matter whether your dog is trying to gain or lose weight, balanced nutrition is essential. Fresh fruits and veggies provide natural sources for key vitamins and minerals – chelated minerals and probiotics are beneficial as well.
Also Read: 20 Best Dog Food Brands
Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best dog food for weight gain. Here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Weight Gain
When it comes to weight gain for dogs, you want to make it slow and steady. If your dog puts on too much weigh too fast, he could end up putting on fat instead of muscle and that isn’t healthy. This is why high protein content is so important. Protein from animal sources like poultry, meat, and fish are the most digestible for dogs, so look for a dog food made with those ingredients.
Next to protein, fat is the most important nutrient – dogs need at least 5% in their diet, though something closer to the 20% range is ideal for weight gain. Again, most of it should come from animal sources (like chicken fat or salmon oil) but plant-based fats like flaxseed and canola oil can help ensure a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Outside of protein and fat, your dog needs digestible carbohydrates for energy and dietary fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of these and other nutrients, plus they are more bioavailable than synthetic supplements.
Your dog can also benefit from probiotics to support healthy digestion and to ensure that it’s absorbing all the nutrients from the food it eats.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best dog food for weight gain.
The Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Weight Gain
The best dog food for weight gain will have the right balance of protein and fat, both from high-quality animal sources. It should be higher in calories than the average dog food, but not so much as to make your dog gain weight in an unhealthy way.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best dog food for weight gain that you should consider:
How Much Should You Feed Your Dog to Gain Weight?
Choosing the first dog food for weight gain is important, but you also need to know how much to feed your dog.
You shouldn’t just feed your dog as much as it will eat because that could lead to excess growth which might put it at risk for joint issues or other health problems – controlled growth is best.
Try feeding your dog small meals more often to give it a steady stream of energy throughout the day to help it grow.
When deciding how much to feed your dog at each meal, refer to the feeding recommendations on the package according to your dog’s age. Instead of using its current body weight, however, use your dog’s ideal body weight to determine how much to feed it per day.
What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?
Dog food allergies and sensitivities are more common than you may realize and, theoretically, a dog can develop an allergy to any food ingredient.
If your dog suffers from food allergies, you may need to find a product made with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate. Novel ingredients are simply ones your dog hasn’t had before – something like duck, venison, or salmon instead of common proteins like chicken or beef.
Digestible carbohydrates like whole grains or grain-free options like sweet potato or peas are also available. Generally speaking, the fewer ingredients in your dog’s food, the less likely it is that it will have a bad reaction, so a limited ingredient diet (LID) could be a good choice as well.
Also Read: The Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food
In addition to feeding your dog a high-quality dog food for weight gain, you should also make sure it gets plenty of exercise. While this may sound counterintuitive, exercise helps your dog build muscle and bulk. To get started shopping for dog food, try one of the top 5 best dog foods for weight gain that we have reviewed above.